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Brain scans of smokers taken before and 24 hours after quitting showed increased activity in certain areas of the brain that cue the person to crave a drag when they view photographs of others smoking, according to research published online Jan. 5 in Psychopharmacology.

“We saw activation in the dorsal striatum, an area involved in learning habits or things we do by rote, like riding a bike or brushing our teeth. Our research shows us that when smokers encounter these cues after quitting, it activates the area of the brain responsible for automatic responses. That means quitting smoking may not be a matter of conscious control,” researcher Joseph McClernon, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center, said in a news release issued by the school.

“So, if we’re really going to help people quit, this emphasizes the need to do more than tell people to resist temptation. We also have to help them break that habitual response,” he added.

“Only five percent of unaided quit attempts result in successful abstinence,” McClernon said. “Most smokers who try to quit return to smoking again. We are trying to understand how that process works in the brain, and this research brings us one step closer.”

Study co-author Jed Rose, director of the Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research, said previous research he conducted showed that wearing a nicotine patch and smoking a cigarette with no nicotine breaks the learned behavior.

“The smoking behavior is not reinforced, because the act of smoking is not leading them to get the nicotine,” Rose said in the news release. “Doing this before people actually quit helps them break the habit so they start smoking less. We’re seeing people quit longer this way.”

 

Here is the most comprehensive list of what smoking does to you. The makers of Smoke Away ask you, what more do you need to know in order for you to quit smoking? How about 70 reasons not to smoke!

Cigarette Smoking causes:

  • Stained teeth, fingers, and hair
  • Increased frequency of colds, particularly chest colds and bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Neuralgia
  • Gastrointestinal difficulties, constipation, diarrhea, and colitis
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Convulsions
  • Leukoflakia (smoker’s patch)
  • Insomnia
  • Heart murmur
  • Buerger’s disease (inflammation of blood vessel linings)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Arthritis
  • Smoker’s hack
  • Nervousness
  • Wrinkles and premature aging
  • Tension
  • Gastric, duodenal, and peptic ulcers
  • Lung cancer
  • Cancer of the lip, tongue, pharynx, larynx, and bladder
  • Emphysema
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Artherosclerosis & arteriosclerosis (thickening and loss of
    elasticity of the blood vessels with lessened blood flow)
  • Inflammation of the sinus passages
  • Tobacco angina (nicotine angina pectoris)
  • Pneumonia
  • Influenza
  • Pulmonary tuberculosis
  • Tobacco amblyopia
  • Impared hearing
  • Decreased sexual activity
  • Mental depression
  • Blood flow to the extremities is decreased (cold hands and feet).
  • Nicotine affects the nerve-muscle junctions, causing tremors and shaking.
  • Nicotine causes narrowing and constriction of the arteries, adding to the heart’s load.
  • Nicotine, through its ability to stimulate, causes excitement and anxiety.
  • Nicotine, an insecticide, makes the blood more viscous and decreases the available oxygen.
  • Nicotine adversely affects the breathing, sweating, intestinal, and heart actions of our autonomic nervous system.
  • Two to four cigarettes in a row increase blood fats 200 to 400%. The average smoker (30 cigerettes per day) has 4 to 6 times the chance of having heart disease if he’s in the 45-54 year age group.
  • If the mother smoked during pregnancy, her baby will average 6 ounces less and its pulse will be 30% faster than a non-smoker’s baby, and there’ll be withdrawal symptoms in the baby after birth.
  • Premature birth has been related to smoking by the mother.
  • There is a direct link between parents’ smoking and children’s respiratory disease.
  • Smoking causes widespread permanent destruction of the tiny air sacs (alveoli) and narrowing of small blood vessels in the lungs, decreasing the oxygen supply, requiring a higher blood pressure, thus causing extensive circulatory problems and premature heart attacks.
  • Smokers have difficulty running and exercising.
  • The cilia are tiny, delicate, hairlike coverings on the thin membrane of the surface of the lungs and trachea. This delicate lung-cleaning mechanism, in a cigarette smoker, at first paralyzes, then deteriorates, and is eventually made inoperative, through the complete destruction of the cilia. The smoker then must resort to coughing as a lung-cleaning method. This isn’t efficient, and more than a cupful of tars will have accumulated in his lungs by the time of his premature death.
  • Air pollution (auto exhausts, industry wastes, etc.) increases the lung cancer rate of the smoker, but not of the non-smoker. Apparently, the lung-cleaning cilia are alive and working for the non-smoker.
  • The time to recover from any specific ill, whether caused by smoking or not, is much longer for the smoker. Often, a non-smoker will survive a sickness from which he would have died had he smoked.
  • The non-smoker has no need to spend money to buy cigarettes, matches, lighters, holders, ashtrays, or to spend a dime a mile for that special trip to the store.
  • By dying earlier, the smoker will lose many tens of thousands of dollars in social security and other benefits which will naturally end up in the pockets of the non-smoker. The cigarette tax is more money from the smoker to the non-smoker.
  • The smoker is sick more often, explaining why he misses an average of 7½ work days per year, usually with a loss of pay, while the non-smoker will miss only 4½ days.
  • The overall bad health of the smoker results, on average, in a decrease of 8.3 years in his life expectancy, or about 12 to 14 minutes per cigarette.
  • The smoker’s body requires more sleep every night. This extra sleep must come from his spare time. Besides needing more sleep, smokers don’t sleep as well.
  • Smoking destroys vitamins, particularly vitamin C and the B’s.
  • Smoking has induced cancer in dogs.
  • Insurance rates can and will be higher for smokers.
  • Some 100,000 doctors stop smoking every year.
  • Foods will taste much better to non-smokers.
  • Smoking causes smelly breath; smelly house; smelly clothes; messy rugs and furniture, often burned; cigarettes lying around for kids to smoke (and matches to light);
  • Smoking is a bad influence on kids; you’re held in low esteem by your kids and your friends (even your smoking friends);
  • The inside of your home and auto windows need cleaning more often; death or property loss due to smoking in bed.
  • Smokers get into more auto accidents due to being less alert, having slower reflexes, and also due to fussing around while driving (lighting up, etc.).
  • A non-smoker would have to put on an additional 150 pounds in order to increase his mortality rate to that of an average smoker.
  • The fact that the tobacco industry provides work, that wouldn’t exist without it, is a myth. The money now wasted on tobacco, if diverted elsewhere, would create a wealth of new job openings in industries producing goods and services more useful to the society than cigarettes.
  • Smoking makes a person irritable and argumentative, partially due to a subconscious knowledge of all of the above facts.
  • Smoking has been related to brain damage and premature senility.
  • A smoker needs much more food and sleep since nicotine makes his body work harder and less efficiently and his heart beat faster, thus using more fuel and energy. This, together with the fact that a smoker loses much of his appetite and his taste for food, explains why smokers have less trouble keeping their weight down.
  • When one quits smoking, it’s IMPERATIVE that the intake of food is drastically reduced in order to keep the body weight normal.
  • Having to eat less is of course an additional saving of time and money.

You now have read over 70 facts and reasons why smoking is a) not good for you and b) can seriously shorten your life expectancy. What MORE do you need to know in order for you to quit smoking?

Just when you think you’re getting through to people a report comes along like this. Just when you start to see bars, restaurants, and public places banning cigarette smoking, a story such as this, with as attention grabbing of a headline as you will ever see, appears.

I wish I could say that it must be a mistake but apparently not.  According to the World Health Organization, One billion people may die of tobacco-related illness this century, almost all of them in developing countries. Thats 1 BILLION!  A billion people in developing countries will DIE.

There is not a more sobering statistic to me than when I read about a case where something is so totally preventable and yet people continuously and consciously make the wrong choice. Because of what? Boredom, a quest to be cool, poverty? Regardless of the circumstances, it’s obvious that not a lot of thought or care is going into the decision making process.

It’s almost the athlete’s mentality. When an athlete is at the peak of their physical form, when they are at their very best, they have a feeling of invincibility. As if they can never be beaten, can never fail, and that they can conquer all. People have this same feeling when they smoke. They feel nothing but the smokers high and the addiction, but have utterly no clue as to what is going on inside their bodies. In fact they won’t until it is too late as this latest statistic bears out.

To this end WHO has decided to roll out an unprecedented  global campaign to fight the spread of smoking and limit the reach that it currently has.

The effort provides the first comprehensive look at tobacco use, as well as smoking control and taxation policies, in 179 countries. It also lays out six strategies to reduce tobacco use, many used by rich countries in recent decades, although far from fully deployed even there.

Tobacco use is a risk factor for six of the world’s eight leading causes of death and causes about one in every 10 deaths of adults now. That toll is expected to rise steeply as tobacco companies target new customers, particularly women, in low-income countries, WHO officials said.

My question to the tobacco companies would be, how could you, with a clear conscience, target women in low income countries? How in the hell is that a strategy? Do these people sit in their board rooms and decide that this is a viable path to profitability?

“What we’re saying is that we don’t want to let that happen,” said Douglas Bettcher, director of the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative. “We want to see the operating environment of the tobacco companies become as difficult as possible in the near future.”

While WHO cannot force countries to make stringent tobacco control a priority, it hopes to convince them such efforts are cheap, proven, and especially beneficial to their poorest citizens.

“In many countries, money spent by the poor on cigarettes is taken away from what they could spend on health and education,” said Patrick Petit, a WHO economist who helped produce the 329-page report accompanying the initiative’s launch in New York.

Margaret Chan, WHO’s director-general, said the compilation of data is itself a powerful tool for change. “I truly believe that what gets measured gets done,” she said.

WHO is using marketing techniques reminiscent of the tobacco companies’. It has branded the campaign MPOWER — each letter represents one of six strategies — and is eschewing scare tactics in favor of the theme “fresh and alive.” Press materials came with a box that looks like a pack of cigarettes and contains a pad and pens describing the elements of the campaign.

The six strategies are: 1) Monitoring tobacco use and control policy 2)Protecting people by enforcing “smoke-free” laws 3)Offering smokers nicotine replacement and counseling programs 4)Warning on cigarette packs about smoking’s hazards 5)Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising and promotion and 6)Raising the price of tobacco through taxes.

Numerous studies have shown that raising the price of cigarettes is by far the most powerful strategy. For every 10 percent increase in price, cigarette consumption drops about 4 percent overall and about 8 percent in young people.

While some cities, states and provinces employ the strategies in a coordinated fashion, no countries do so, the WHO report said. Uruguay employs the most of any nation — three: graphic pack warnings, a ban on smoking in public buildings and free smoking-cessation help. The United States employs two, at least to a degree: national monitoring and a national ban on many forms of tobacco advertising.

Only 5 percent of the global population is protected by laws to curb smoking; only 5 percent live in countries that completely ban tobacco advertising and event sponsorship; and only 6 percent live in places where cigarette packs carry pictorial warnings of smoking’s hazards. (In Brazil, some packs feature a man with a tracheotomy, a breathing hole created in the front of the neck after treatment for throat cancer).

The report sketches a picture of huge diversity between countries and regions in current tobacco use.

In Greece, 59% of men smoke cigarettes every day; in Sweden, 15% do. 38% of Serbian women smoke, but only 1% of women in Kyrgyzstan do. In Indonesia, 65% of men are smokers, but only 4% of women.

Nearly 2/3 of the world’s smokers live in 10 countries, with China accounting for nearly 30%. About 100 million Chinese men now under 30 will die from tobacco use unless they quit, the report said.

In India, which is second to China in the number of smokers, tobacco control is complicated by the fact there are two types of cigarettes that are priced and taxed differently.

In 2006, Indians smoked about 106 billion conventional cigarettes and 1 trillion “biris.” The latter are loosely packed combinations of tobacco and flavorings such as chocolate or clove, wrapped in a leaf of the tendu tree.

Biris are made in thousands of small factories and home workshops and cost about 10 cents for a pack of 25. They are taxed at a lower rate than normal cigarettes, ostensibly to protect the poor, who are their main consumers.

WHO’s campaign was put together with financial help from a philanthropy run by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman. He is giving $125 million over two years for global tobacco control and helped pay for the country-by-country survey that provided baseline data for the campaign.

In New York, he created one of the most comprehensive anti-smoking programs in the country. His advocacy of higher tobacco taxes has pushed the average price of a pack of cigarettes there to $6.20, and he is seeking another 50-cent increase.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in June that the percentage of adult New Yorkers who smoke fell from 22 to 18 from 2002 to 2006, with the steepest drop in people 18 to 24 years old.

The campaign organizers held two news conferences in New York yesterday, one at the United Nations, WHO’s parent organization. U.N. headquarters is about the only place in the city where a smoking ban is not enforced, because the U.N. campus is autonomous territory. The Vienna Cafe there is packed with smokers all day long. It used to have signs saying “Smoking Discouraged,” but they haven’t been in evidence recently.

Clearly things need to be done quickly. Who needs to worry about global warming this century when a billion people will be gone? We want you to quit, we don’t care what method you use, though we would love for you to use our product. The bottom line, just quit for the sake of you and your family and friends.

Tobacco companies have marketed their products with well thought out campaigns utilizing all of the media, including print media, the movies, television and musicians. The images of Hollywood stars and musicians smoking have had an influence on people’s decisions to start smoking. People, and especially young people, see these images, and imagine how cool they would look if they smoked. They think it is sexy to smoke. They it is cool? There is absolutely zero “cool” factor to smoking. Here’s a quick question to any teens or college aged readers out there:  How does it taste to “make-out” with someone who smokes? Do you enjoy it in the least bit?

Smoking is not sexy

There are other reasons people start smoking, but more often than not, it is because of the image that is created in their minds through the use of movies and media that prtray smoking as a “prop” that makes the scene and the actor more Believable!!!  Could they be any further from the facts or truth?

What is cool about smoking? Nothing!

In some parts of the world smoking is viewed as a “rite of passage”. Seeing third world youngsters smoking, some of them 10 years and younger, is not unusual. But my question to you and them, what education is going on to teach and explain to them the hazards and dangers of smoking? None. So they smoke.

Smoking has zero appeal

Most people get started smoking with their first cigarettes given to them by older friends or family members.  Or they sneak it from someone else or they get someone to buy them their first pack of squares. It’s obvious who the new smokers are, because they are trying like hell to look cool. Little do they know what is in store for them if they do not stop. How depressing is it to see Santa smoking? Such was the mentality many years ago!

Santa smoking

Part of the reason they smoke is to be a part of the crowd that they admire or people they aspire to emulate. Many times their peers encourage them to start, and even show them how it is done, even how to do things such as blowing smoke rings, etc. Because they are not part of a particular clique, they use smoking as a crutch to support them and give them an identity.

Lets blow nicotine in each others face!

It is about image more than anything else as most people would agree that the first cigarette is certainly not pleasant. If food tasted that bad most of us would never eat again. It becomes a challenge to overcome the coughing, burning throat, the choking, the burning of the eyes. If something is seen to be cool or fashionable then there will be many people who will do it simply to be accepted by their peers.

Winston Does not taste good!

The majority of people find that smoking tastes bad and makes them feel bad until they become accustomed to the taste then those feelings disappear. By that time they have started to become addicted to the tobacco and nicotine and a new problem presents itself.

Tennis and Smoking, I don’t think so!

Statistics show that the majority of people who smoke wish they had never started, if only they could wind back the clock they would certainly never have started. They fool themselves into thinking that they can quit any time they want. After a few tries at quitting they buy into the notions that quitting is too hard, they do not have the will power, smoking is really not as bad as people say. They begin to justify their habit with comments like;

  • I really enjoy smoking,
  • It relaxes me,
  • It keeps me thin.
  • I can quit any time I want.

After a very short time the addictive nature of tobacco and nicotine start to control the smoking habit, which makes so many people continue to smoke long after they realize the many ways it is affecting their health. Knowing that they are shortening their life is generally not enough incentive to quit.

Camels

Basically we want you to quit, no mattter which way you go. Just make sure that you make 2007 the last time you even think about smoking.

Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States, and the major cause of death. This lung cancer screening quiz will help you identify any signs and symptoms you may be experiencing; however, it is not intended to diagnose any condition. If you have any signs and symptoms of lung cancer, you should see your doctor immediately.

Q: Do you have a persistent cough?

Yes
No

Q: Do you have a deep, wheezing cough?

Yes
No

Q: Do you cough up mucus?

Yes
No

Q: Do you cough up bloody sputum?

Yes
No

Q: Do you have difficulty breathing?

Yes
No

Q: Have you had reoccurences of pneumonia or bronchitis?

Yes
No

Q: Do you have difficulty swallowing?

Yes
No

Q: Have you had long-term exposure to asbestos, or other dusts, chemicals, or fibers?

Yes
No

Q: Do you smoke or have you smoked in the past?

Yes
No

Q: Have you been feeling unusually fatigued or have you had a loss of appetite?

Yes
No

If you answered yes to the majority or even half of these questions, it would appear that you have many of the signs and symptoms of Lung Cancer. Because Lung Cancer is a slow progressing lung disease, it may take many years before signs and symptoms appear. Therefore, if you are experiencing many of the signs and symptoms of Lung Cancer, you should see your doctor immediately. Only your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis. If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking now. 

34 Tips to Help You Quit Smoking Successfully

1.Wake up! We all know that smoking is bad for us, but if you’re like most smokers, you avoid looking at the destruction smoking causes whenever possible. Take the blinders off and read everything you can get your hands on about smoking. It will help you start to make the mental shift necessary to quit smoking.

2. Write it down.  Writing down what you’re going through is a useful tool for anyone trying to quit smoking. Start with your list of reasons for quitting. Include everything from big to small, and leave room to add to it. Think about the pros and cons of smoking and make your list as detailed as possible. Be honest with yourself.

3. Reaffirmation We have a way of believing what we tell ourselves over and over. Your journal will help you cement these goals. Prompt yourself with present-tense messages like: “I am a nonsmoker” or “I am strong and healthy”, and commit them to paper. Daily affirmations will plant the seeds of change in your mind, and it won’t be long before your actions are following your thoughts.

4. Lean on Someone  Having others who are interested in your success is very important.

5. Start taking your body back. Smoking cessation throws our bodies into shock initially. If you take care to give your body the fuel it needs to run properly, you’ll find that you’re better able to cope with the discomforts of nicotine withdrawal. Have the right foods within easy reach and you’ll minimize weight gain due to quitting.

6. Listen to your body. When you’re tired, cravings to smoke will seem stronger while you feel less able to manage them. Fit a full 8 hours of sleep in every night, and a nap here and there if you need it. If you have trouble sleeping when you first quit smoking, try taking a long walk a couple of hours before bed. Most importantly, you have been abusing your body with nicotine for so long, it’s time to repair it.

7. Water You’d be surprised what water can do. It will help to flush residual toxins out of your system, and beat back cravings to smoke. When you’re well-hydrated, you’ll feel better in general, which is a plus when you’re going through nicotine withdrawal.

8. Get back in the groove. If you already have a daily exercise regimen, good for you! If not, start now. Choose something you enjoy doing, and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Aim for a half hour of exercise every day. Walking is a great way to move and it’s a quick fix for the urge to smoke. Get out for a 15 minute walk around the block and you’ll come back refreshed and relaxed.  Chances are if you start seeing an impvovement, you’ll want to keep it going. But you have to start.

9. Be Determined. Your determination to quit smoking is built one day at a time. Every smoke free day makes you stronger, and when you consciously take time to reflect and rejoice in the value of what you’re doing, you’re working to fortify your will to make this the quit that lasts you a lifetime.

10. Be grateful that you still have a chance to change things.Think about the blessings in your life. We all have them. Be thankful for the freedom you’re creating for yourself today. Remember that you’ve wanted to quit smoking for a long time and you’re finally doing something about it. List out the benefits you see in your health and overall being due to quitting tobacco. Make gratitude a daily conscious part of your life.

11. Know that it’s hard and accept the challenge. Relax into your quit and embrace cravings to smoke as they come. Don’t fight – lean into urges and ride them out. Most cravings last 3-5 minutes. Think of them as signs that your body is healing – that is just what they are.

12. Don’t long for the old you. Quitting tobacco is a gift, not a sacrifice. Don’t sabatoge yourself by feeling sorry that you can’t smoke. You are choosing not to smoke because you want to be free of this killer of an addiction. Keep your perspective!

13. It doesn’t happen overnight. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, people don’t quit smoking in a day either. Most of us had 20 years or more of smoking under our belts before we quit. Give yourself the gift of time and patience. Work to undo old patterns and replace them with newer, healthier choices. Each day you complete smoke free brings you closer to lasting freedom.

14. Make this the year  We all vow to do it, but we let lifes challenges knock us off track. But remember, life’s challenges are easier to deal with when you are not chained to nicotine addiction. You can quit smoking for good!  and Shed the chains of addiction and take back your life.

15. Decide Right Now to Believe that You CAN Quit Smoking

Studies of smokers who successfully quit smoking show that one of the most important traits of a successful quitter is their belief that they have the ability to quit smoking.

Do you believe that you can quit? If you don’t, you will have a much harder time trying to quit. The best action you can take right now to start the quitting process is to fix in your mind the belief that you have the ability to quit smoking. You might say that you can’t change your belief, but you can.

Believing you can quit is so important because your belief will guide everything you do in your attempt to quit. The way you think, the research you do, the steps you take, the people you talk to, the help you seek–all these will be influenced by the belief you have in your ability to give up cigarettes.

16. One little smoke does make a difference. If you don’t truly believe you can quit, you’ll probably find yourself saying, “What’s one little cigarette? I’ve got a headache. I just can’t quit like other people.” If you believe you can quit, instead you’ll be saying “My head is hurting from withdrawal, but I can make it through this. I know the headache and other withdrawal symptoms will go away in a few days. My life is more important than a stupid cigarette.”

17. Believing shapes everything you do. So does not believing. If you believe something strongly enough your mind will give you the correct thoughts to help your body take you in the direction of your belief. You must believe that you can quit smoking, even if it takes 10,000 attempts.

  • Realize that your old belief was founded on old ideas and circumstances and that your new belief is based on new information and your newfound desire to quit smoking now.
  • On 3X5 cards, write out several positive statements about your ability to quit. Read your cards three times a day: morning, noon and bedtime. Some statements to use: “I believe that I have the ability to quit smoking,” “I am a non-smoker,” “I no longer need cigarettes in my life,” “I happily quit smoking,” “It’s easy to quit smoking,” “I am a powerful, self-directed person,” “I control my own life.” Make up some of your own statements. Make them positive, as if you have already completed the task.
  • Post a sign on your bathroom mirror with one of the above statements on it.
  • Repeat the above statements to yourself, whenever you have a free moment.
  • Use visualization techniques  to visualize yourself mastering your smoking habit and winning the fight.
  • Ask your family and friends to encourage you with positive statements about your ability to quit smoking.

18. Create a “Quit Plan” Successful people in all walks of life become successful through planning. The same is true for smokers who successfully quit smoking. You must create a plan that you will follow daily, so that you quit smoking purposefully, not haphazardly.PLan your work and work your plan.

19. Take the plan seriously. This is your life we are talking about! Study this report and write down how you will mentally prepare yourself to quit smoking. Don’t try to quit until you feel you are ready.

20. Set a quit date. Decide on a specific date that you will quit. Write down your “quit date.” Make sure your quit date comes after you have completed step “a” above. Also, choose a quit date that occurs during a relatively low stress time. Don’t try to quit during a stressful time at work or during the break-up of a relationship, for example.

21. Hold yourself to the date. Quitting on a specific date is preferable to slowly reducing the number of cigarettes that you smoke. By going “cold turkey” you won’t have to keep track of how many cigarettes you smoked yesterday and how many you will smoke today. You will also remove the temptation to cheat and smoke too many. By using this report to prepare yourself for your quit date you will be ready to quit, and going cold turkey won’t be so difficult.

22. Think about the upside. Write down all the things you will enjoy doing after you quit smoking (long walks, eating out without being restricted to the smoking section, taking a vacation with the money you will save, etc.). This step is very important, so spend extra time dreaming up your “smoke-free future.”

23. Remember the triggers. Write down the times and occasions when you are most likely to smoke. Write down what “triggers” your desire to smoke. You may be surprised to find that you have organized your day around smoking.

24. Plan your new life. Write down five to ten things you will do instead of smoking, whenever you feel a cigarette craving coming on. For example, you might drink a glass of water, go for a short walk, type a letter, do some filing, call a friend, read a book, or mow the grass. Plan how you will distract yourself. Try to distract yourself with something healthy and/or beneficial. Match the distractions you’ve created in this step with the times and occasions your wrote down in step “d” above.

25. Identify your support network. Write down the names of three people whom you trust to support your efforts to quit smoking. Contact them and ask for their support. Make sure you tell them that you want only positive support. Ask them to call you each day and give you positive encouragement. Also, ask them if you can call them if you need help.

26. Purge the old. Write down a list of all the items that you use when smoking: cigarettes, lighters, matches, ashtrays, etc. Make notes about where every single item is. Then on your “quit date” track down each item and throw them away. Don’t forget to clean out your car and your office at work.

27. Reward yourself. Write down a list of rewards that you will give yourself. Be sure to reward yourself as you go longer and longer without smoking. For example: End of Day One — long, hot bubble bath. End of Week One — see a Movie. End of Week Three — dinner at an exclusive restaurant. End of Month Two — take a day off from work. End of Six Months — take a weekend getaway. End of Year One — take a 7-day vacation. Whenever possible, write down the specific date that you will reward yourself. By the way, these rewards won’t cost you much, if anything, because you’ll be saving hundreds of dollars by not smoking!

28. Go see your doctor. Make an appointment to see your doctor. You need to know about you. What are you waiting for?

29. You must Take Action You can’t win the battle if you don’t start the battle. The problem with too many unmet goals and plans is that no action was ever taken to start down the road to achieving the goal or plan. If you created your “Quit Plan” above (you did create a “Quit Plan”, didn’t you?) you now have a plan for quitting. What is the first step  of your Quit Plan? Have you done it yet? Do it now! You must put your plan into action. Getting started on your plan is difficult, but once you get started it’s hard to stop. So get started today!

30. Prepare Yourself Mentally  While most of the media attention surrounding the smoking addiction focuses on chemical addictions to nicotine, you are in reality “multi-addicted.” You are addicted to the feel of the cigarette in your hand and mouth. You are addicted to the actions of lighting your cigarette, moving your cigarette up to your mouth, flicking ashes from the cigarette and holding your cigarette between your fingers. You’ve also become addicted to the visual appeal of cigarettes: the flame, the smoke, even a dirty ashtray. You’re also addicted to the deep inhalations and exhalations you take as you puff on your cigarettes. You may have become addicted to smoking buddies at your workplace. All these stimuli serve to meet some physical, psychological or emotional need within you.

31. Understand why you like cigarettes. Part of preparing yourself mentally is understanding, studying and attacking your addictions. Think about the pleasures you derive from smoking. Does it make you feel “cool”? Do you get a lift or relax? Do you need to have something in your mouth or hands? Do you enjoy breathing deeply when you smoke? Do you feel a compulsion to head out to socialize with your smoking buddies every morning at 10:30?

Think through how you feel when you smoke. Are you happy, sad, soothed, or more alert? The next time you smoke a cigarette, notice all these things. Jot down your observations, then re-read them regularly. Study your own addiction so you understand what you must overcome. As Socrates said, “Know thyself.”

32. Seek Help and Support from Family and Friends constantly. Sure we said indentify your support network but sometimes our family and friends can be our worst enemies when we are attempting something very difficult or “different.” If your family or friends don’t smoke, they may not understand your desire to quit. Nor will they understand the extreme difficulty of overcoming your addiction.

If your family and friends do smoke, they may have attempted to quit themselves, but failed. Or they may not want to quit at all, thereby placing pressure on you not to quit also. Human nature causes people to try to “hold others back” when someone close to them begins to move in a direction different from the norm. If you quit, you will place pressure and the spotlight on family and friends who are still smoking.

Your challenge will be to let others around you know that you are doing this for YOU. Let them know that if they will not encourage you, then they should “keep quiet while you quit.” But by all means encourage others to encourage you.

Ask your family and friends to give you positive encouragement. Make sure they know that you do not want them to point out your faults, mistakes and slips. Ask them to praise your victories, large or small. Ask them to be understanding during the times that you may be less than friendly or patient. Ask them to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

33.  Find a Quit Buddy Chances are you know another smoker who wants to quit. Suggest to that smoker that you help each other “douse the flames” forever. Studies show that smokers who partner with a Quit Buddy to provide mutual support are more successful when giving up cigarettes than are smokers who try to quit on their own.

If you can’t readily find a Quit Buddy, try contacting some of the resources listed at the end of this report. Also, many local hospitals and churches have quit-smoking programs and you may be able to find a Quit Buddy or even a Quit Group there.

Quit Buddies can provide support by way of daily or even hourly phone calls. Make yourself available to your Buddy whenever he or she needs help making it through the tougher moments. Provide positive encouragement when your Buddy succeeds. Do your best to ignore any relapse your Buddy may have. Don’t try to “shame” or coerce your Buddy into quitting. Studies show that negative feedback does not improve quit-smoking success rates.

Plan outings and activities together. As previously mentioned, you might exercise with your Quit Buddy. Sign contracts with each other stating that you will quit smoking and provide your Buddy with support while they quit.

34. Don’t Give Up Many smokers who have successfully given up cigarettes have made several attempts to quit before they finally kicked the habit. You should know going in that quitting may be a lengthy, or even life-long, process. There is no failure as long as you  (Believe). If you believe you will quit, you will! It may take three or four attempts before your quitting “sticks.” If you quit for a short time then resume smoking, you are one step closer to quitting for good. Just quit again. Keep doing it Until. Until you win, until you quit for life.

You may find that after a first or second attempt to quit you have reduced the number of cigarettes that you smoke each day. That’s great! You are no longer as dependent! Now, go for the gold!

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